In a group called Path Of A Taoist (Tao means The Way so this is a pun) I am examining the first 10 Chapters of Tao Te Ching for guidance of action in this political turmoil. If the wisest book of all time can't help us with strategy against Authoritarianism (the reason Lao Tzu left China) then I doubt anything really can.
But aside from that examination is my argument for widespread adoption of Tao as a unifying direction for our nation. I think we have not had such a unifier since the birth of cable TV and CNN. Before that time we all watched the same 4 networks (including PBS) and saw pretty much the same movies in theaters. After that time we all began a more individualistic life which The Internet exacerbated. My argument is that we need to quickly find something which expresses our new nature and equality based lifestyles free of dogma. Tao is roughly 5,000 years old (older than Buddhism) and Tao Te Ching is the 2nd most translated book of all time (behind The Bible). Since we need to stop the widening divide quickly I suggest the only idea which can possibly compete with Christianity, Islam, or Hinduism easily. If the idea gains wide-spread demand, or buzz, and elbow aside the dogmatic religions then our lawmakers would have to take notice. If they don't then maybe we will replace them with more Tao friendly Members? That's how Christianity took over.
I will not beat this idea as a proselytizing thing, though it does inform my opinions, so relax. I just want my idea to be understood for what it is so am trying to make that clear. The link is a great website to explain Taoism in a fuller way so I submit it for educational reasons. As the subject states, many of you claim Taoism is a religion so I want to address that as wrong. It is a philosophy with ancient guidance for human society. One can also accept the guidance without actually practicing it (Tao will take no notice or punishment) but the unifying pathway will remain and be heard by those tasked with implementation of The People's demands.
Peace, love, and best of luck.
About Taoism as religion:
Basically, there are two forms of Taoism: the philosophy and the religion. The former, which is the oldest, is called Tao chia (also spelled Dao jia), and the latter Tao chiao (Dao jiao). When westerners talk about Taoism as a religion, they refer to Tao chiao - often unknowingly. Tao chia has little to do with gods, the afterlife, and such matters. It is a philosophy for the here and now.
Tao chiao consisted of a number of rituals and traditions by which to prolong one's life, reach spiritual insight, and come to peace with existence. It is a very rich and complex tradition of mysticism and magical rites that emerged during the later part of the Han dynasty, around the beginning of the Christian Era.
They referred to Tao Te Ching and other Taoist sources, but did so quite liberally, with interpretations that sometimes got very far from the texts they leaned on.
For example, their ideas about longevity were based on Tao Te Ching's chapter 33, which ends with a line that they interpreted: "The one who dies without perishing gets a long life." Findings of the 1970's in Mawangdui show that the accurate reading of that line should be: "The one who dies without being forgotten gets a long life." This form of longevity - in the memory of others - is an old wisdom also found in many other cultures. Tao Te ching actually expresses no belief in a significantly prolonged life, and certainly not an eternal one. So, I dare say that the major sources of Taoism agree that Taoism is a philosophy, and not much of a religion.
One has to watch what they put into being the book from which action will ensue. Intrepretations will carry and as soon as the conservatives get hold of it one will not see any relation to the original. I have been a Taoist for the past fifty years. People cannot read what is in front of them without putting their meaning into it.
Biblical text originally in the book of Acts labeled the following of Jesus as "The way".
Religion ... pure and faultless is this: to help widows and orphans in need and avoiding worldly corruption. James 1:27
Why refer to anything as a religion that has nothing to do with helping widows and orphans while avoiding worldly corruption?
Thanks for the info. I have the most shallow of understanding of taoism but have read and so assumed that it simply was philosophy. Interesting that, like Buddhism, it is either philosophy or religion, depending on whom you ask. Maybe thought systems morph into religion when their adherents tire of having to think and instead seek easy concrete answers.